Skip to main content

The Night of Counting the Years

Movies Preview

The Night of Counting the Years

Published 1969
Topics Egypt, Mummy

Egyptian critics consistently list "The Night of Counting the Years" (also known as "The Mummy") as one of the most important Egyptian films, and perhaps the most important one, but it remains largely unknown, both within Egypt and elsewhere, despite winning a number of awards at European film festivals.

Set in 1881, on the eve of British colonial rule, it is based on a true story: an Upper Egyptian clan had been robbing a cache of mummies near the village of Qurna, and selling the artifacts on the black market. After a conflict within the clan, one of its members went to the police, helping the Antiquities Service find the cache.

The film casts this story in terms of the search for an authentic, lost Egyptian national identity (represented by the neglected and misunderstood artifacts of ancient Egyptian civilization), but the conflict between city and countryside suggests questions that are not resolved in the film, making it an ambiguous, unsettling reflection on the price of identity.

Unusual camera angles, striking colours and slow editing give the film a dreamlike quality, reinforced by Mario Nascimbene's eerie music. For those who know Arabic, the dialogue is entirely in classical Arabic, which adds to the sense of unreality.

This release includes separate files containing subtitles in English and Arabic (the latter are for those who are learning the language). To watch the film with subtitles, first click on the "All Files: HTTP" link on the left side of this page. You will see a long list of files. Download the two video files, whose names end in AVI, and the four subtitle files, whose names end in SRT, by right-clicking on each one and choosing "Save Link As...". You can then watch them with a media player that supports subtitle files, such as VideoLAN. (The Arabic subtitles are in UTF-8 encoding.)

There is also a higher-quality DVD version, available as two DVD ISO files, without subtitles.

Producer Shadi Abd Al-Salam
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language Arabic


Written and directed by Shadi Abd Al-Salam
Cast: Ahmad Marei, Ahmad Hegazi, Zouzou Al-Hakim, Nadia Lutfi, et al.
Music: Mario Nascimbene
Cinematography: Abd Al-Aziz Fahmy
Editing: Kamal Abu Al-Ela


Reviewer: Dr Feel Rotten - - February 5, 2011
Subject: what book did hingrty get this info?
Original Egyptians were all white? Must have been from some Aryan by-bull somewhere.. Get a grip!
Reviewer: gestroud - - October 30, 2010
Subject: hingerty needs a history lesson
LOL @ Nefertiti was white.

Where do you get your information, some whitewashed history book?

The Greeks didn't make it to Egypt until the 4th century B.C. under Alexander the Great.

Nefertiti was born over a thousand years before that.

Do you have some photographs of her to prove she was a natural redhead? FYI, people of that time used a dye called henna on their skin and hair.

Stop trying to re-write history.
Reviewer: hingerty - favoritefavoritefavorite - October 18, 2010
Subject: Egyptian Identity?
I hate to break it to the Egyptians and allthe polically correct peoples who choose to denigrate the white race, but the early ancestry of the Egyptians was Caucasian. They were white. Nefertiti had RED hair. They were subsequently usurped by invasions from the south(Kush). Sea Peoples, Hittites etc etc. It is odd that when the Head of the Antiquities was given the chance to run dna on his mummies he balked and dragged his feet, and then when Nat Geo finally prevailed on him to do this, no mention was made of the race of the people.But you cant hide the truth forever. The people who live in Egypt now do not have the same genealogy of these people. They are wonderful people and I have the greatest respect for the Muslim civilization, but they "aint the ones".
Reviewer: Mr. Afreet - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 26, 2010
Subject: Wonderful movie.
The above language was cribbed (without attribution) from the most cited scholarly essay on the film: Elliott Colla, "Shadi Abd al-Salam's al-Mumiya: Ambivalence and the Egyptian Nation State," in A. Ahmida, _Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in the Maghreb_ (New York: Palgrave, 2000), pp. 109-143.
Reviewer: Elsayed_Taha - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 8, 2008
Subject: Thanks for Sharing this movie
I had uploaded the movie to Google video under these two links:

The advantage of that, you can choose the subtitles to be displayed, and select either arabic or english.

If you have other subtitles for the movie, please let me know so i can add them.

Again, thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of cinematic art.

Here is a link about SHADI ABDEL SALAM on Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Reviewer: Hossamoak - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 4, 2008
Subject: The best film I have ever seen
This film is my absolute favorite classic film.Yes, it is like a beautiful dream that comes from a beautiful country.Shadi Abd Al-Salam is a genius filmmaker that keeps being exploited by not having his works distributed by major distributors. Very few people come to watch his films however, while his films have to be a part of the cinematic canon.
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Feature Films
by Shadi Abd Al-Salam
eye 7,893
favorite 8
comment 0
The Video Cellar Collection
by T Hayes Hunter
eye 215,948
favorite 88
comment 12
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 12 reviews )
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Films
by UPMAA, Eckley B. Coxe
eye 4,683
favorite 8
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
American Libraries
by Christie, Dugald, b. 1855; Christie, Iza Inglis, "Mrs. Dugald Christie.," ed
eye 651
favorite 1
comment 0
Short Format Films
eye 1,263
favorite 1
comment 2
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 2 reviews )
Funny or Die Videos
eye 11
favorite 0
comment 0
Funny or Die Videos
eye 7
favorite 0
comment 0
Short Format Films
eye 509
favorite 2
comment 0